Choose how to store and manage records

In SharePoint, you can manage records in an archive, or you can manage records in the same document repository as active documents.

Overview

Before you plan your records management solution, you should work with your administrators to plan the solution. Find more information about planning and implementing records management solutions in the See Also section.

A Records Center site    serves as an archive, and documents are copied to the archive when they became records. Whether a document was a record or not was determined by whether it lived in the records archive or elsewhere.

Managing records in place    is an alternative to the traditional process of copying or moving records to another location, and then applying security and retention policies. You can manage records “in place which means that you can leave a document in its current location on a site, declare it as a record, and apply the appropriate security, retention and disposition properties to the record.

A hybrid approach is also possible. For example, you could keep records in place with active documents for two years, and then move records to a records archive when a project is complete.

Records Center

Content from all over the enterprise can be submitted to a Records Center and then routed to the appropriate place where it picks up the right permissions and policies, such as expiration and auditing.

Metadata, or information about data, plays a key role in helping to manage the information and retrieve it later. Features such as content types, content organizer, and virtual folders help to support the use of metadata.

Features of a Record Center include:

  • Document ID    Every document can be assigned a unique identifier, which stays with the document even when it's archived. This allows records to be easily referenced by an ID no matter where the document moves.
  • Multi-Stage Retention    Retention policies can have multiple stages, allowing you to specify the entire document lifecycle as one policy (e.g. review Contracts every year, and delete after 7 years)
  • Per-Item Audit Reports    You can generate a customized audit report about an individual record.
  • Hierarchal File Plans    You can create deep, hierarchal folder structures and manage retention at each folder in the hierarchy (or inherit from parent folders).
  • File Plan Report    You can generate status reports showing the number of items in each stage of the file plan, along with a rollup of the retention policies on each node in the plan. Taxonomy and Centralized Content Types: The archive will be a consumer of enterprise-wide taxonomies and content types, ensuring consistency and context transfer between the collaborative spaces and the archive. We'll be talking a lot more about our 2010 taxonomy investments in future posts.
  • Taxonomy and Centralized Content Types    The archive will be a consumer of enterprise-wide taxonomies and content types, ensuring consistency and context transfer between the collaborative spaces and the archive. We'll be talking a lot more about our 2010 taxonomy investments in future posts.
  • Content Organizer    The records router can use metadata to route incoming documents to the right place in the hierarchical file plan. For instance, it enables you to automatically enforce rules on content that is submitted, like "If a Purchase Agreement is tagged with Project Alpha, send to the Alpha Contracts subfolder and apply that's folder retention policy to the item."
  • Virtual Folders   : The file plan is a great way to manage a repository but often time isn't what you want to use to navigate and find the content you are looking for. The SharePoint 2010 Records Center makes use of a new feature called metadata based navigation, which allows you to expose key metadata as virtual folders:

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In-place records management

Any site can be enabled for in-place records management can be configured as a records management system. In this type of system, unlike with the Records Center, you can store records along with active documents in a collaborative space.

In-place management allows you to control content in collaborative spaces. This allows certain SharePoint documents (or blogs, wikis, web pages, and list items) to be declared records. The system can prevent such records from being deleted or edited, if necessary by your organization's definition of what a record is.

Auditing, Retention, Expiration, Reporting, Records Workflows, eDiscovery, and Legal Hold are all features you can use in collaborative space as you are striking a balance between SharePoint's value to end users and the need for information governance.

Records can either be declared manually, as part of a larger process in a workflow, or as a scheduled part of a document's retention, such as after 2 years. The key is that, when declared a record, the content doesn't move to an archive - it stays where it is so the end users can still find and interact with the content.

Some additional benefits of using an in-place records management system are:

  • Records can exist and be managed across multiple sites.
  • With versioning enabled, maintaining versions of records is automatic.
  • Search can be executed against both records and active documents at the same time.
  • Broader control over what a record is in your organization and who can create a record.

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Considerations when planning a solution

As you think about whether to manage records in a separate records center or in the same collaboration site in which the documents were created, consider the following questions:

  • Is the governance of the collaboration site appropriate for managing records?
  • Is your industry subject to regulatory requirements that mandate records be separated from active documents?
  • Should the administrator of a collaboration site be trusted to manage a site that contains records?
  • You might want to store records in a site that uses more restricted access than the collaboration site, or in a site that is backed up on a different schedule.
  • How long will the collaboration site be in use? If records will have to be kept for longer than the project is ongoing, choosing an in-place records management strategy means that you will have to maintain the collaboration site even after it is no longer used.
  • Will the project members need frequent access to the documents after the documents have become records? If you use an in-place approach, project members can access documents in the same manner regardless of whether the documents are active or are records.
  • Are records managers in your organization responsible for only records, or are they responsible for all information, regardless of whether it is active or a record? If records managers are responsible only for official records, having a separate records center might be easier for them.

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Applies to:
SharePoint Online Enterprise (E1), SharePoint Online Enterprise (E3 & E4), SharePoint Server 2013 Enterprise